The ‘Everything Else’ Amendment

The ‘Everything Else’ Amendment

( – The Ninth Amendment was a much-debated amendment and still, today means different things to different people. Like most amendments, the language is often interpreted to mean something in direct alignment with the person or entity interpreting it.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Bill of Rights

While some outright demanded the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution, others argued against it. Their arguments laid the foundation for the Ninth Amendment itself. It wasn’t that they thought the people shouldn’t have certain natural rights, but rather it was the fear that putting rights in a list might mean that any rights not included in that list would not exist for the people.


The Constitution focused on government and its limits. The focus wasn’t on the people at all, and that oversight left them open to assaults on their “natural rights.” The Bill of Rights addressed this issue, not just for the people, but for the states as well.

During the writing of the Bill of Rights, it occurred to those involved that they might be doing the same thing with those amendments as the Constitution itself did — by providing too much definition, they might inadvertently limit future rights. They felt it was important to protect the premise that people are governed based on their choices as free people, not based on a dictatorship that might strip them of rights they had yet to foresee.

As a result, the Ninth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. It prevents the assumption that a right does not exist simply because it isn’t listed in the Bill of Rights itself. It prevents those ten amendments from being the only rights that Americans might ever know as human beings by outright designating that other rights exist, even if they aren’t written in the Bill of Rights.

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